Michael Stephens = Norman Bates?!?

Following on from searching for books by the colour of the cover, it would be just plain rude if I didn’t have a stab at ripping off retrievr at the same time!
Once Iman gets back, I’m going to grill him mercilessly about the best way to analyse and match images. In the meantime, here’s my first stab at searching…
Using ImageMagick, I resized the book covers to 8×8 pixels and then stored the hex colour value of each of the 64 pixels in a database table.
For example, Nielsen’s “Designing Web Usability” changes from…

…to something like this (I’ve added the black lines)…

You can then give it an image like this one to search for…

…then cross your fingers and see what pops out the other end…
The search works by comparing the hex colours of the 8×8 version of the search image with the corresponding pixels of the book covers. Each book cover then gets ranked by how well it matches the search image.
The only catch is that it currently takes about over 30 seconds to complete the search, hence the need to get Iman on the case.
Anyway, I’m sure what you really want to know is what the lowdown on Michael Stephens is — here’s what came out the other end when I gave it a well known image of Mr Stephens…
Continue reading “Michael Stephens = Norman Bates?!?”

Go John, Go!

Just spotted that Ann Arbor now have suggestions on their OPAC — yay!
The suggestions on our OPAC are very much driven by books recommended on the student reading lists, so it’s going to be fun comparing suggestions from a public library to see how similar they are.
Taxi Driver (DVD) (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
Our DVD collection is mostly art films, with a few mainstream/popular titles thrown in, so our top suggestions include “City of God”, “Y tu mama tambien”, and “The Godfather”.
The Ann Arbor suggestions are a much broader range — from “The Aristocrats” thru to “King Kong”, via “The Killers” (1946)
The Hobbit (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
This almost looks like a LibraryThing unsuggestion, but our only suggestion is for “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”!
The Ann Arbor suggestions include lots more Tolkein, along with quite a few GA McKevett titles.
Ulysses (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
We’ve got an interesting selection of classics, poetry, and classical music (inc. Mozart, Nyman, and Bartok).
The Ann Arbor suggestions include at least three books on how to pay for college, along with books by Asimov and Stephen Baxter.
I’d love to see more libraries offering suggestions. Imagine if you were able to easily compare your borrowing trends with other libraries — how much common ground would there be, and how much to local demographics come into play?